Replacing Sonic Frontiers Line 3 SE

Have owned it since new for a couple years, been extremely happy with it. But it's time to try something different, notice I said different instead of better.

Line 3 SE has great transparency, soundstage width/depth, and extension. Looking for something of similar calibre but maybe even more dynamic w/o losing the musicality. Does something like that exist? Also need both XLR & RCA in/out for flexibility and convenience.

Budget is $5k used or under, rest of my system can be viewed under virtual system.
If I may ask a question what are you using for tubes in the Line 3SE?
Tried Siemen, Tungsram, Valvo, Sovtek 6H23, etc.
How about early 60s NOS, Telefunken E188CC 7308, Telefunken E88CC 6922, Amperex PQ white label 6922, or Amperex PQ white label 7308 tubes.

What was the siemens tubes you used?
I see you have a BAT VK-75SE, have you considered a BAT VK-51SE? It's the most dynamic line stage I've heard.

John, a guy compared BAT 51SE to Line 3SE and preferred the Line 3SE. I know that's one person's opinion, but he did compare both at home extensively. Also, many thought BAT sounded on the dark side?
unless you just have to spend 5k, there really isn't much that compares with your sf. the words 'extremely happy' don't show up often here. your amp may not like the change either.
I have an all-out modded SF Line 3 and would never let it go unless I had to- I think you are barking up the wrong tree IMHO, but then everyone needs a change once in a while.
Semi, a guy preferred the 3SE to the VK-51SE.....and.......
...was that guy you?
You do know that folks have different opinions with different equipment, right?

I just mentioned it because you have a BAT amp, it would seem like a synergestic combination to me. If you're not interested, that's fine.
I buy the equipment that I like, I don't go buy what some other guy likes. That's just my $0.02.

Maybe Sutts is right, and you're barking up the wrong tree.
Maybe you should look for some SF Power 3 monos to mate with the 3SE.

Just my 2 cents try some NOS early 60 tubes as I described in my earlier post. You did not respond and say what the Siemens tubes were you used, but I bet they were not the early 60s Siemens CCa tubes.
A small investment considering the system you have. Besides the way the prices continue to rise for NOS tubes if you don't like the sound, wait 6 months an sell the tubes and get all your money back plus....

Jim, the Siemens came with my Line 3 SE from SF, they have falcon logo which should be decent. I have tried a few others in addition to what I mentioned, but none made enough of a difference so I never thought of trying the Telefunken especially the stiff price.

One question is Line 3 SE has a pair of 6GH8A that were never replaced since new. Not sure if an aged 6GH8A will dull the sound and what will be a good source for NOS 6GH8A.

Sutts, do you have a SE or SE+ and have you compared the two? How does it compare to other pre's?

I wish I can go out and buy a BAT 51SE to try while keeping the Line 3 SE, but that's a serious commitment on cash flow.
I owned the same preamp for three years (SE upgrade after a year.) I just went through the replacement dance the beginning of this year. Auditioned
Big BAT51SE - frankly it didn't beat the Line 3 at all
Big Boulder ($35K I think) very analytical etched and unmusical.
Calypso - Better but the improvement over the Line 3 was not worth the money.
Ayre K1xe - This is what I upgraded to. Better in every way. Although not tube equipment, its the best and most musical preamp I've ever heard. Only preamp I've ever heard with the harmonic lushness of tubes but the accuracy and detail of solid state. The best of the two worlds (balanced also.)
How about upgrading the 3SE at Parts Connection? Might make an already fine pre even better.
Keis, I have heard similar feedbacks on BAT VK51SE and Aesthetic.

Since I posted this thread, I ordered some 6GH8 to replaced my worn pair. I experimented with different 6922 and made no significant difference in dynamic, but putting in a pair NOS Zenith 6GH8 and dynamic jumped back to life. Bass, micro dynamic, and detail all improved with the new tubes, wondering what other NOS 6GH8 I should experiment with.

But right after the tube change my Line 3 SE developed the famous volume control failure. According to SFI, it's the simple optical encoder that failed and should be easy to replace. Has anyone done this himself?

Ayre, that's a big surprise. I know V-1X is great, but never would have thought K-1X can beat a world class tube pre.

Another pre I am considering is Nagra, but that has no XLR in/out.
I also have a Line 3 which was factory modded when I ordered it new almost 5 years ago, it is essentially an SE too and I could not think of anything I would replace it with which could do all it does sonically AND boast its features. I wish you luck and will be following this thread, please keep us updated. I've personally been intrigued by the Wyetech but it's $$$ and won't compare with features. Regards.
Have you considered the Aesthetix Calypso preamp? I believe it has both unbalanced and balanced inputs. Other preamps with both kinds of inputs include:
* Atma-Sphere MP-1 and Mp-3
* Audio Research LS-25 MKII
* BAT gear
* EAR 864 (has 1 XLR input I believe)
* Pathos InControl (but I think it only has 1 XLR input)

Personally I like my First Sound preamp but it doesn't have the balanced inputs you seek . . .